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SYRIA: PEN urges its members to take action and honour their Syrian colleagues.

Thursday 23 August 2012 - 1:00am

The jailor kills me with a sword
I answer with a word,*

*Extract from the poem ‘The Crypt’, written by Dia’a Al-Abdulla, translated by Ghias Aljundi and Mitch Albert

23 August 2012

PEN International continues to appeal to the Syrian authorities to stop the use of excessive force in the ongoing crackdown on anti-government protests. The crisis has now deepened and the numbers of victims on both sides of the conflict continue to escalate. PEN has designed a series of three postcards featuring portraits the work of imprisoned and killed Syrian poets which PEN members are urged to send to the Syrian representatives in their countries. They can also be used in publicity events, as postcards or posters, to raise awareness and appealing for the end of the Syrian conflict.

More than 20,000 civilians have been killed, several thousands have been wounded and about two million have been displaced as a consequence of the conflict. PEN has been working on highlighting the cases of killed and imprisoned writers, poets, and journalists, by statements and through our RAN network.

With the purpose of honouring some of our Syrian colleagues through their writings, PEN International has produced three postcards highlighting the cases of writers Dia’a Al-Abdulla, Tal Al-Mallouhi and the late Ibrahim Qashoush. The postcards contain brief extracts of their work and a short background of their cases.

What to do:

PEN International urges its members to:

Print: Please feel free to download the templates of the postcards from this link and to print them;

Send: Send the postcards to the Syrian authorities via your nearest diplomatic representative of Syria;

Campaign: Use these materials in any other way you can, whether by hosting events in solidarity with these writers and their families, approaching the media to raise your concerns about the Syrian crisis, reading sessions at literary events, etc.

Click and read:

Click here to find a link to protesters using Qashoush’s songs in YouTube
A PEN statement on the ongoing conflict in Syria
The most recent alert issued by the WiPC on Syria
A statement by Syrian writer Khaled Khalifa

For further information please contact Cathy McCann at PEN International Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email:

To download the postcards, click here